You may realize you have a talent for writing fiction when your writing professor describes your debut novel as “‘Flannery O’Connor meets The Godfather. . . Full of insight and intrigue, this haunting tale follows a girl coming of age in a ‘family’ that is both more and less than what she imagined.”
Well, I was just trying to get into a formal writing schedule and see what works for me. I didn’t really have anything to write at the time, so I just started transcribing some of my family’s stories from a little sister’s perspective. After a few weeks, I started to realize that there was something deeper going on, some other story beneath the stories.
You said that it started with family stories, so does that means that some of the episodes in your book are true? What does your family think about that?
Yes! Well, true is a loose term. Haha! There is always some kind of expansion or deletion of details in oral storytelling. I can only speak for a couple of family members, but they seem to be receiving it really well—getting a real kick out of it, trying to find themselves and episodes they were a part of. When they first heard what I was writing a lot of them started opening up, telling me stories that I never heard before. It seemed to kind of unlock a whole other set of experience they either forgot or perhaps, didn’t feel comfortable sharing.
How does your Christian faith impact your writing?
When speaking to students, especially seminary students, I often use the analogy of climbing. Writing academic papers is like rock climbing—strategic, often slow, very particular in motion. But writing fiction is more like repelling. It’s an informed and aware leap done blindly. I trust that the way that I pray, embrace the saturation of God’s grace, love, study and serve will affect my writing. But I don’t really know what I truly think and feel about my faith until I see it come out through the actions or words of my characters.
A Quick Story Summary:
According to Rosemary Luce, 1968 Mahoningtown, Pennsylvania, was as true as the movie’s exaggerations—a flash of technicolored bliss. But under the falling soot of train engines and steel mill stacks her vibrant Italian-American community is riddled with morbid secrets. Eleven-year-old Rosie’s curiosity in a mysterious group of men precipitates her discovery of the Italian Mafia. When she gets caught in the Mafia’s path she learns that her honorable and honest family has incestuous Mafia ties. And, the golden age of the mob is coming to a self-detonating end. Her struggle to rescue her family from its generational curse begins to blur her own distinctions between corruption and justice, good and evil, sin and saving. In her journey, she discovers the power of friendship, the consequences of evil, and the hard decisions that come with unconditional love.